Two of the first three parts of the process of naming the Major League Soccer All-Star Roster have been completed, and the third will be announced on June 18th.
While teams such as the Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas, and even the expansion Portland Timbers all have players who have been named to the team, the most glaring omission is that no player from Real Salt Lake has yet to be named to the squad that will face English Premier League Champion Manchester United on July 27th in New York.
Fans of the league had the first opportunity to vote in players they wanted to see in the match. The results of the voing fo the First XI left Real Salt Lake players out of the party.
The players voted on by the fans are as follows:
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller (SEA)
Defenders: Omar Gonzalez (LA), Sean Franklin (LA), Rafa Márquez (NY), Tim Ream (NY)
Midfielders: David Beckham (LA), Jack Jewsbury (POR), Brek Shea (DAL)
Forwards: Landon Donovan (LA), Thierry Henry (NY), Chris Wondolowski (SJ)
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Kessler was also named to the team by winning the fan text vote contest.
In addition to these 12 players and as the second part of the process, MLS Commisioner Don Garber named two forwards to the team. Red Bull striker Juan Agudelo, and Sporting KC designated player Omar Bravo join the squad. Each has scored four goals this season.
As the third phase of the selection process takes place, here are the four Real Salt Lake players that must be considered for inclusion on this team.
Nick Rimando, Goalkeeper
Rimando is the goalkeeper for one of the best defensive teams in the league. His current goals against average of 0.75 is one of the lowest in the league. He has allowed only 12 total goals, and his 74% save rate is one of the highest in the league. He also has eight shutouts this season.
He was recently named to the United States Gold Cup team as the third goalkeeper, and the only one from Major League Soccer.
With only one goalkeeper selected to the team so far, there is a good chance that Rimando is honored.
Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave, Defenders
Borchers and Olave are not only two of the best defenders on the team, they are two of the best in the league, and both deserve to be All-Stars.
Olave is playing better this season than he did last year when he was named th Major League Soccer Defensive Player of the Year. He has reduced his fouls and is still one of the fastest players in the league. He has been the anchor for the strong Real Salt Lake backline.
Borchers has played just as well as Olave this season and the two together have formed a very dominating central defense. He was a very large part of the CONCACAF run to the finals for Real Salt Lake. He has quietly played his way into being one of the top defenders in all of MLS.
With the announcement that defender Rafa Marquez will likely not play in the match to injury, it leaves the team with only four defenders and a good chance for one if not both of these players to be added.
Kyle Beckerman, Midfielder
Beckerman has quietly been one of the most dominating midfielders in MLS for several years. His presence in the middle is one of the factors that has kept his team in contention for the Supporters Shield following the injury to playmaker Javier Morales. His impact on games was felt the most in the heartbreaking loss to Monterrey in the CONCACAF final, which he missed due to yellow card accumulation.
Beckerman is a strong holding midfielder that keeps the order for Real Salt Lake as the team captain. He was named to the last two All-Star games, and led Real Salt Lake to the 2009 MLS Cup Championship.
With only three midfielders currently on the team, Beckerman should earn his third straight All-Star apperance.
There is one other player that could be added to the team, but with the commisioner picks both being forwards, it is a now a longshot. Forward Fabian Espindola has been playing well lately and is tied for fifth place with six goals on the season. His play over the last several games could lead to an All-Star spot, but it is not likely.
Regardless of which players are selected, the team that brought the league so much exposure with it’s run in the international CONCACAF tournament and has the fourth highest point total in the league should have at least two All-Stars. It will be interesting to see which two they will be.
Chris Johstoneaux is the Real Salt Lake and Utah Jazz Examiner. If you liked this article, please leave me a comment, subscribe to receive updates, or follow me on Twitter at @JazzRSLExaminer or on Facebook on the Chris J. Sports Page.